Monday, March 18, 2013


Vatican City, 18 March 2013 (VIS) – In the press conference held today, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Press Office of the Holy See, focused on two themes: Pope Francis' first audiences and details of the Mass inaugurating the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome.
First, Fr. Lombardi relayed the information that the Holy Father was, at the moment, having lunch with the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, whom he received at the Domus Sanctae Marthae “in a private meeting that lasted around 20 minutes, afterwards greeting the other members of the Argentine delegation”. Also this morning, at 10:00am, Francis received in audience Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B. Yesterday afternoon he had two very cordial audiences, one with the Bishop of Albano, Italy, and the other with the Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon.
The main part of the press conference was dedicated to how the Mass inaugurating the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome will be celebrated. “The correct term for the ceremony,” Fr. Lombardi clarified, “is not enthronement but inauguration. As successor of Peter, the Pope is Bishop of Rome and the Church of Rome 'presides in love' over the others. Also, it is a celebration rich with symbols that recall the Pope's tie to St. Peter, beginning with the place where, according to tradition, Peter was martyred.”
The Press Office Director also explained where those participating in and attending the Mass will be located. “On the left-hand side of the 'Sagrato' (porch of the Basilica) will be seated bishops and archbishops (around 250 are expected), ecclesiastics, and delegations from other Churches and Christian confessions. On the right-hand side of the 'Sagrato' will be delegations from various countries lead by heads of state, ministers, etc. On the St. Peter’s statue side of the piazza will be seated Jews, Muslims, and members of other religions, then around 1200 priests and seminarians. On the St. Paul’s statue side of the piazza will be seated the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See and other civil authorities. The rest of the piazza will be standing-room for all those without tickets. A large number is expected to attend.”
Between 8:45 and 8:50am the Pope will depart the Domus Sanctae Marthae and start to move through the crowd in the various sections of the piazza—either in the Jeep or the Popemobile—and greet those gathered. He will return to the Sacristy, via the Pietà side, around 9:15am. Mass is planned to begin at 9:30am.
Regarding the beginning of the ceremony, the Pope, once having entered the Basilica, will head to the Confession (St. Peter’s tomb under the high altar) while trumpets will announce the “Tu es Petrus”. The Pope will venerate the tomb of St. Peter, together with the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches (ten in number, four of whom are cardinals). He will then be presented with the Pallium, Ring, and Book of the Gospels that were placed at St. Peter’s tomb the night before.
The Holy Father will then come back up from the Confession to the main floor of the Basilica, from which the procession continues. The “Laudes Regiae” (Christ is King) will be chanted, with some invocations taken from the Vatican II document on the Church, “Lumen Gentium”. In the Litany of Saints are particularly to be noted, after the Apostles, the Holy Roman Pontiffs who have been canonized up to the most recent: St. Pius X. Fr. Lombardi clarified that these are only the pontiffs who have been named as saints, not those who have been beatified. The procession will then make its entrance into the square.
Fr. Lombardi listed who will be concelebrating the Mass with Francis: all the cardinals present in Rome, joined by the Patriarchs and Major Eastern Rite Archbishops (6); the Secretary of the College of Cardinals; and two Superior Generals (that of the Order of Friars Minor, Jose Rodriguez Carballo and that of the Jesuits, Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, respectively President and Vice-President of the Union of Superior Generals). In total about 180 are expected to concelebrate and they will be seated at the left (that is, in front of the ecclesiastics, not the national delegations).
Before the Mass begins there are the rites specific to the beginning of the Bishop of Rome's Petrine Ministry. These include:
The Imposition of the Pallium:
Made of lamb’s wool and sheep’s wool, the Pallium is placed on the Pope's shoulders recalling the Good Shepherd who carries the lost sheep on his shoulders. The Pope’s Pallium has five red crosses while the Metropolitans’ Palliums have five black crosses. The one used by Francis is the same one that Benedict XVI used. It is placed on the Pope’s shoulders by Cardinal proto-deacon Tauran and, after the imposition, there is a prayer recited by Cardinal proto-presbyter Daneels.
The Fisherman’s Ring:
Peter is the fisherman Apostle, called to be a “fisher of men”. The ring is presented to the Pope by Cardinal Deacon Sodano (first of the Order of Bishops). It bears the image of St. Peter with the keys. It was designed by Enrico Manfrini The ring was in the possession of Archbishop Macchi, Pope Paul VI's personal secretary, and then Msgr. Malnati, who proposed it to Pope Francis through Cardinal Re. It is made of silver and gold.
The “Obedience”:
Six cardinals, two from each order, among the first of those present approach the Pope to make an act of obedience. Note that all the Cardinal electors already made an act of obedience in the Sistine Chapel at the end of the Conclave and that all the cardinals were able to meet the Pope in the following day’s audience in the Clementine Hall. Also, at the moment of “taking possession” of the Cathedral of Rome—St. John Lateran—it is expected that the act of obedience will be made by representatives of the various members of the People of God.
The Mass will be that of the Solemnity of St. Joseph, which has its own readings (therefore they are not directly related to the rite of the Inauguration of the Pontificate). The Gospel will be proclaimed in Greek, as at the highest solemnities, to show that the universal Church is made up of the great traditions of the East and the West. “Latin,” Fr. Lombardi said, “is already abundantly present in the other prayers and Mass parts.”
The Pope will give his homily in Italian and, as is his style, it probably will not follow the written text strictly, but will contain improvisations.
Fr. Lombardi said that the Master of Celebrations expects that the ceremony will not last much more than two hours and, always with the intention of simplification and not making the rite overly long, there will not be an Offertory procession. The Eucharistic gifts will be brought to the altar by the ministers who prepare the altar. Also, the Pope will not distribute Communion, which will be done by the deacons on the “Sagrato” and, in the various areas of the piazza, by priests.
Regarding the music for the ceremony, several moments are notable. When the Pope enters the Basilica silver trumpets will ring out the “Tu es Petrus”. The Laudes Regiae will be chanted during the procession from St. Peter’s tomb to the “Sagrato”. A 14 piece brass ensemble will play at various moments of the celebration. During the Offertory the “Tu es pastor ovium” (You Are the Shepherd of the Sheep) motet composed by Pierluigi da Palestrina precisely for the Inauguration of the Pontificate will be sung. At the conclusion, the “Te Deum” will be sung with verses alternating between Gregorian chant and a melody by Tomas Luis de Victoria. As it will not be held on a Sunday, there will be no Angelus after the Mass.
At the end of the celebration, and after removing the Liturgical vestments, the Pope will go to the Basilica’s high altar, before which he will greet the heads of the official delegations from various countries who will pass before him. He will then go to the Domus Sanctae Marthae for lunch.
Other delegations staying in Rome can meet with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States the following day, Wednesday (for example, the President of Brazil in light of the upcoming World Youth Day). As is known, the Pope will receive delegations of the Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities and of other religions in audience on Wednesday.
At the present moment, the main delegations that are expected to attend are:
- 33 delegations representing Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities (14 Oriental; 10 Western; 3 Christian organizations; others). Among these will be present: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I; Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin II; Metropolitan Hilarion of the Patriarchate of Moscow; many metropolitans; Anglican Archbishop Sentamu; Secretary of the World Council of Churches Fykse Tveit; etc.
- 16 members of important Jewish delegations including: the Jewish community of Rome; international Jewish committees; the Chief Rabbinate of Israel; the World Jewish Congress; the Anti-Defamation League, etc.
- As well as delegations of Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jainists, etc.
To date, delegations of various sizes and levels from 132 countries have confirmed their attendance.
“The delegations,” Fr. Lombardi emphasized, “are coming to Rome following information of the event made public by the Secretary of State. There were no 'invitations' sent out. All who wish to come are warmly welcomed. It must be made clear that no one has privileged status or will be refused. The order will depend on protocol and the level of the delegation.”
Naturally, the most important delegations will be those from Argentina, led by President Cristina Kirchner and Italy, led by President Napolitano and Prime Minister Monti with presidents of the Italian Senate, House, and Constitutional Court.
Also expected are six reigning sovereigns (Belgium, Monaco…); 31 heads of state (Austria, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Poland, Portugal, European Union…); three crown princes (Spain, Holland, Bahrain); 11 heads of government (Germany, France, the Vice President of the United States, …); and delegations led by: first ladies, vice presidents, vice prime ministers, parliament presidents, ministers, ambassadors, and other dignitaries.
Papal Coat of Arms:
The last topic that Fr. Lombardi covered was the now pontiff's papal coat of arms and motto. These are the same that he used as bishop. The shield has a bright blue background, at the centre top of which is a yellow radiant sun with the IHS christogram on it representing Jesus (it is also the Jesuit logo). The IHS monogram, as well as a cross that pierces the H, are in red with three black nails directly under them. Under that, to the left, is a star representing Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church. To the right of the star is a nard flower representing Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. With these symbols the Pope demonstrates his love for the Holy Family.
What distinguishes his coat of arms as pontiff is that, instead of the wide-brimmed, red cardinal's hat atop the shield, it is now crowned by the papal tiara and crossed keys.
His motto—“miserando atque eligendo” (because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him)—is taken from the Venerable Bede's homily on the Gospel account of the call of Matthew. It holds special meaning for the Pope because—when he was only 17-years-old, after going to confession on the Feast of St. Matthew in 1953—he perceived God's mercy in his life and felt the call to the priesthood, following the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Vatican City, 18 March 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father Francis received in private audiences at the Domus Sancthae Marthae:
- Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., and
- Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina.
Yesterday afternoon at the Domus Sancthae Marthae, he received:
- Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, and
- Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
Vatican City, 18 March 2013 (VIS) - “Dear Friends, I offer my heartfelt thanks and ask you to continue to pray for me.” Pope Francis' first tweet was sent after yesterday's Angelus. The twitter account @ponitfex, in nine languages, has been reactivated and already has 3,400,000 followers.


John 8: 12 - 20

12Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
13The Pharisees then said to him, "You are bearing witness to yourself; your testimony is not true."
14Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true, for I know whence I have come and whither I am going, but you do not know whence I come or whither I am going.
15You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one.
16Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me.
17In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true;
18I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me."
19They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also."
20These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.


Viewpoint: A proportionate view of the Magdalen laundries | Magdalene Laundries, McAleese report

English Magdalene Laundry - Wiki
Last Friday night's God Slot on RTÉ radio broadcast an interview with two nuns who had worked in Magdalene homes. This was the first interview of its kind and the nuns granted it on condition of anonymity because they were scared of the backlash that would follow if their names became public. Clerical Whispers writes:
The nuns had main four main points:
The first was that Ireland during the era of the Magdalen homes was extremely poor and this must be taken into account when assessing the place of the laundries in Irish society.
The second was that women who fell outside society's norms were more harshly treated than men.
The third was that women ended up in the Magdalen homes for a variety of reasons, and the fourth was that the homes are being judged by a very anti-Catholic media.
So, how poor was Ireland in the middle part of the last century?
By one calculation based on CSO data, in real terms Ireland in 1935 was less than a tenth as rich then as it is today, even taking into account the present recession.
The following figures give us a further insight. In 1946 there were 662,654 households in Ireland. Almost half of these had no indoor toilet and no outdoor toilet. That is, they still relied on bed pans and the like as people had done for centuries before. To put it another way, in the middle of the last century the living conditions of many Irish people were not so different from those of their distant ancestors.
Life expectancy was also much lower. In 1926, the life expectancy for males and females was 57.4 and 57.9 years respectively. Today it is 76.8 and 81.6 years respectively. The much lower life expectancy meant many children lost one or both parents. In 1946, 13.8 percent of children aged 14 had lost one parent, most commonly the mother, and 1.1 percent had lost both parents.
There was no welfare state in those years and the answer to many of the problems created by grinding poverty was institutionalisation.
This is clear from the Martin McAleese investigation into the Magdalen homes.
The two nuns on the God Slot were quite correct to imply that if these places did not exist many of their inmates would have been on the street instead.
They could have added that they might have been in prison instead (in a small minority of cases) or remained with abusive parents or been placed in mental institutions. (Which may or may not have been better than the Magdalen laundries).
In a sense, we need to consider two separate issues when examining the Magdalen homes and their legacy.
The first is the justification for institutions in themselves and the second is what actually took place inside them.
Without question, institutions in general were justified in their day. In conditions of great poverty when there simply wasn't the money available to alleviate many of the problems caused by poverty (including the early death of parents) what alternative was there?
And if the institutions had not been run by the religious orders, someone would have had to run them. This would likely have meant fewer institutions and it is highly unlikely they would have been run any better than the orders ran them to judge from the record of lay-run institutions both here and overseas.
Today, foster care is often the alternative to institutional case but foster parents are paid over €1,200 per month per foster child. If that money wasn't available there would still be thousands of children in institutions.
As for the Magdalen homes themselves, how bad were they? They certainly were not as bad as portrayed in the film, The Magdalene Sisters, or in some of the popular accounts generally.
For example, they were not set up for single mothers and few of their residents/inmates were single mothers. Indeed, those who spent them in them were rarely in for 'sexual sins' at all.
Second, the average length of stay was seven months, and not years as many people still seem to think.
Third, sexual abuse and physical abuse were very rare.
Fourth, they were not money-making enterprises and for the most part barely broke even.
Fifth, the average age of the women who were placed in them was 23 and finally, in all about 10,000 passed through their doors over a 70-year period and not 30,000 as was previously believed.
All of this is clear from the Martin McAleese's inquiry into the laundries but in many ways he might as well not have written the report at all because very quickly the movie version of the Magdalene homes was reinstalled in the public mind, namely that they were highly abusive places in which women were placed because of sexual sins.
For example, at one point in his second address to the Dáil on the matter, Enda Kenny says women were placed in them for being out of step with the “sort of moral code that was fostered at the time”.
But the McAleese report makes clear that this is not why they were placed in them in the vast majority of cases, something the Taoiseach points out later on in his speech contradicting what he said at an earlier point in the same speech.
One hundred and eighteen women testified to the McAleese investigation about their time in the laundries. Some commentators have suggested that their evidence was not representative of most of the women who passed through them.
But 53 of the 118 women who testified were from the Magdalen campaigning groups so was their account also unrepresentative?
Indeed, if the account of the 118 is unrepresentative, including that of the 53, then by this logic we cannot ever know what really happened in these institutions and should therefore be silent about it.
What, therefore, can we say about them? I think we can say that they were not Ireland's version of Stalin's gulag as some insist on saying.
I think we can say they were badly misnamed because their name gave the impression that the women in them were 'fallen' even though they were not.
I think we can also say, in agreement with Martin McAleese, that they were harsh and cold places for much of their history and often fell far below the standards we should expect of places that are properly Christian.
If we could wind back the clock what would we do differently? Given the poverty of the time and the lack of alternatives, we should still have had versions of the Magdalen homes, but they would not have been called that and they would have been more humanely run.
In the end, the best advice for anyone interested in this topic is simply to read the McAleese report for themselves, and at the very least the introduction by Mr McAleese.
This will provide you with a more accurate account of these institutions than media reports determined to perpetuate an image of the Magdalen homes that is frequently at variance with the facts.
To read the McAleese report see:
 Thanks to Sr Janet Fearns for sending us this article.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Bishop Akio Johnson Mutek, Bishop of Torit (South Sudan) died at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi on Sunday night, March 17.
According to the Catholic Radio Network Mgr. Mutek was rushed to the hospital in Juba in Nairobi as a result of serious kidney complications.
Mgr. Mutek, who was 55 years old, had undergone two kidney transplants in India.
Mgr. Mutek was ordained a priest on December 18, 1988, and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Torit on May 18, 1999.
He was ordained a Bishop on August 15, 1999 and appointed Bishop of Torit on June 9, 2007. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 18/03/2013)



The ecumenical National Council of Churches in Australia has welcomed the appointment of the new pope.
General secretary the Rev Tara Curlewis said in an age when churches are seeking justice and peace for all, “Pope Francis I with his experience and commitment to the poor and his constant call for the eradication of poverty offers the Catholic Church leadership that will be warmly welcomed by the millions of Catholic faithful particularly those in developing nations.
“Australia has always warmly welcomed papal visits and each pope has been remembered for their particular engagement with the Australian people. We look forward to the day when Pope Francis I will visit this land, until then we assure the new pontiff of our prayers.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has offered his warmest welcome to the new pope.
“We wish Pope Francis every blessing in the enormous responsibilities that he has assumed on behalf of Roman Catholics around the world,” he said.
“His election is also of great significance to Christians everywhere, not least among Anglicans. We have long since recognised – and often reaffirmed – that our churches hold a special place for one another.
“I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors.  May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world.
“Pope Francis is well known as a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable. He is an evangelist, sharing the love of Christ which he himself knows.
“His choice of the name Francis suggests that he wants to call us all back to the transformation that St Francis knew and brought to the whole of Europe, fired by contemplation and closeness to God.”
In the UK, The Guardian newspaper said the choice of Cardinal Bergoglio “is an extraordinary leap away from the conservative and cautious nature of the last two papacies. Although Bergoglio is described as a moderate conservative, the Jesuits have a reputation in the modern church for rigorous and independent thought, and under Pope John Paul II they were in deep disfavour for their sympathy with liberation theology in Latin America.
“The election of a Latin American Jesuit would also have been unthinkable 30 years ago.”


by Mathias Hariyadi
Muhammadiyah chief hopes to see already good Muslim-Christian relations improved. In the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi, he wants to promote "share Muslim-Christian interests", especially in the social field. A "new chapter" in the history of the Catholic Church begins, says archbishop of Semarang.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Prof Din Syamsuddin, president of Muhammadiyah, talked to AsiaNews about the election of Card Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires to the Petrine throne, saying it should lead to improvements in the already better relations between the Catholic Church and the Muslim world. In the spirit of Saint Francis, whose name the pope bears, "shared interests between Muslims and Christians" should also "guarantee better living conditions for the needy."
For the president of Indonesia's largest moderate Muslim organisation, under Pope Francis's guidance, the Vatican and Muslim organisations should soon reach a Memorandum of Understanding "to confront shared issues", especially social problems like "poverty and inequality in matters of justice and social life."
Reports about the new pope reached Indonesia in the middle of the night last Wednesday, when most people, Catholics and non-Catholics, were still asleep. However, the name of Pope Francis was soon the leading item on morning newscasts.
Mgr Johannes Pujasumarta, archbishop of Semarang (central Java), welcomed this "new chapter" in the history of the Catholic Church.
Educated by the Jesuits, the religious order to which the new pontiff belongs, the Indonesian prelate said that "he was impressed by the new pope's decision to pick the name Francis", which indicates a desire to "embrace the neediest".
He was equally struck by the simple lifestyle he led each day during his long years at the helm of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.
However, Catholics in Indonesia have been focused on the Muslim world. In the past few years, several episodes of violence and discrimination against religious minorities have been recorded in the world's most populous Muslim nation.
Meanwhile, "I hope that the new pontiff will improve already good relations between Catholics and the Vatican with the varied Muslim world, represented in this case by the nation with the largest number of Muslims in the world, namely Indonesia," said Prof Din Syamsuddin, a long-time participants to Muslim-Christian forums.
"Such good relations can be fertile ground to improve civilisation, despite the behaviour of some human beings that have devastated it," he added.



St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Feast: March 18

Feast Day:March 18
Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church, born about 315; died probably 18 March, 386. In the East his feast is observed on the 18th of March, in the West on the 18th or 20th. Little is known of his life. We gather information concerning him from his younger contemporaries, Epiphanius, Jerome, and Rufinus, as well as from the fifth-century historians, Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret. Cyril himself gives us the date of his "Catecheses" as fully seventy years after the Emperor Probus, that is about 347, if he is exact. Constans (d. 350) was then still alive. Mader thinks Cyril was already bishop, but it is usually held that he was at this date only as a priest. St. Jerome relates (Chron. ad ann. 352) that Cyril had been ordained priest by St. Maximus, his predecessor, after whose death the episcopate was promised to Cyril by the metropolitan, Acacius of Caesarea, and the other Arian bishops, on condition that he should repudiate the ordination he had received from Maximus. He consented to minister as deacon only, and was rewarded for this impiety with the see. Maximus had consecrated Heraclius to succeed himself, but Cyril, by various frauds, degraded Heraclius to the priesthood. So says St. Jerome; but Socrates relates that Acacius drove out St. Maximus and substituted St. Cyril. A quarrel soon broke out between Cyril and Acacius, apparently on a question of precedence or jurisdiction. At Nicaea the metropolitan rights of Caesarea had been guarded, while a special dignity had been granted to Jerusalem. Yet St. Maximus had held a synod and had ordained bishops. This may have been as much as the cause of Acacius' enmity to him as his attachment to the Nicene formula. On the other hand, Cyril's correct Christology may have been the real though veiled ground of the hostility of Acacius to him. At all events, in 357 Acacius caused Cyril to be exiled on the charge of selling church furniture during a famine. Cyril took refuge with Silvanus, Bishop of Taraus. He appeared at the Council of Seleucia in 359, in which the Semi-Arian party was triumphant. Acacius was deposed and St. Cyril seems to have returned to his see. But the emperor was displeased at the turn of events, and, in 360, Cyril and other moderates were again driven out, and only returned at the accession of Julian in 361. In 367 a decree of Valens banished all the bishops who had been restored by Julian, and Cyril remained in exile until the death of the persecutor in 378. In 380, St. Gregory of Nyssa came to Jerusalem on the recommendation of a council held at Antioch in the preceding year. He found the Faith in accord with the truth, but the city a prey to parties and corrupt in morals. St. Cyril attended the great Council of Constantinople in 381, at which Theodosius had ordered the Nicene faith, now a law of the empire, to be promulgated. St. Cyril then formally accepted the homoousion; Socrates and Sozomen call this an act of repentance. Socrates gives 385 for St. Cyril's death, but St. Jerome tells us that St. Cyril lived eight years under Theodosius, that is, from January 379.